High-paying jobs are typically office roles, called "white collar" jobs, that involve clerical, managerial or administrative duties. However, there are hands-on blue-collar jobs that pay well, too. In this article, we explain what blue-collar jobs are and list some of the highest-paying positions.
What are blue-collar jobs?
Blue-collar jobs require physical labour and can either be skilled or unskilled roles. Typically, employers don't ask for a college degree from individuals who work blue-collar jobs but expect them to have a high school diploma or GED. Successful candidates also have training certifications and specialized skills.
Blue-collar employees work in retail, manufacturing, sanitation, food service, warehousing and construction. They typically receive hourly wages, although some employers pay them per project or annually. Here are 14 of the most well-paid blue-collar jobs in Canada:
1. Truck driver
National Average Salary: $23.20 per hour
Job duties: Truck drivers drive trucks that contain goods and materials. They also load, unload, and inspect cargo into trucks. They observe safety protocols and follow traffic rules. Truck drivers are responsible for performing maintenance checks on trucks and reporting issues.
Job requirements: Truck drivers must complete their secondary school education. While employers provide on-the-job training, they may need a certificate from an accredited driver training course. If they drive straight-body trucks, they must have a Class 3 or D licence. Individuals who drive combination vehicles need a Class 1 or A licence. Other certifications depend on the goods being transported and the type of truck.
National Average Salary: $24.44 per hour
Job duties: A welder uses specialized equipment to join metals. They also inspect materials before welding, control the flame, maintain equipment and polish welded surfaces.
Job requirements: Employers require a certificate that shows welders completed their secondary school education. They must also complete a three-year apprenticeship program or have three years of work experience as a welder. They may also need trade certification in their province or territory.
National Average Salary: $30.19 per hour
Job duties: An automotive mechanic repairs vehicles such as light trucks and cars. They examine various car systems and troubleshoot vehicles. They also work with other mechanics when necessary.
Job requirements: Automotive mechanics must have strong communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Employers typically ask for a high school diploma or its equivalent. They expect automotive mechanics to have a certificate from accredited training programs or work experience as a mechanic or apprentice.
National Average Salary: $30.88 per hour
Job duties: Electricians install, repair and maintain electrical outlets, fixtures and wiring. They plan the layout of electrical installations and troubleshoot electrical equipment. Their duties also include placing wires and connect them to other electrical equipment.
Job requirements: This position requires a high school diploma. Typically, electricians work one to four years as apprentices and undergo various training. They must have an Industrial Electrician (442A) certificate. A Construction and Maintenance Electrician Certificate (309A) is also acceptable. They must show that they understand the Canada Electric Code.
National Average Salary: $35.90 per hour
Job duties: Boilermakers manufacture, maintain and install tanks, closed vats and boilers. They also read blueprints to know where to place boilers. Boilermakers use the necessary tools for tasks. They repair and replace parts when necessary.
Job requirements: Boilermakers must have a high school diploma or GED. They must complete a three- to four-year apprenticeship program to be eligible for trade certification. Alternatively, a boilermaker can have over four years of experience and some secondary school education. Other requirements vary based on the province or territory.
National Average Salary: $25.62 per hour
Job duties: A construction inspector examines construction sites such as buildings, streets, highways, bridges and dams. They check the quality of construction material and ensure they meet construction standards. Construction inspectors also submit reports of their inspection to the upper management team.
Job requirements: Construction inspectors must have a college diploma in architectural technology, construction, civil engineering or related field. They must also have years of experience in construction trades such as carpentry and plumbing. Aspiring construction inspectors may need a provincial certificate or a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate.
National Average Salary: $31.36 per hour
Job duties: A plumber installs, maintains and repairs equipment used for distributing or disposing of water such as pipes and fixtures. Plumbers also clear obstructions in sink drains and toilets and inspect equipment to determine the reason for plumbing issues.
Job requirements: Plumbers must complete their secondary school education to work. They must also finish a four- to five-year apprenticeship to get a trade certificate. Alternatively, four years of work experience and some secondary school or college education make a plumber eligible for trade certification.
While trade certification is compulsory in some provinces and territories such as New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec, it is voluntary in others such as Manitoba, British Columbia and Yukon.
National Average Salary: $26.25 per hour
Job duties: Firefighters extinguish fires in residential and commercial locations. They operate fire tools and equipment and are the first medical responders during emergencies. Firefighters are also responsible for driving fire trucks.
Job requirements: Firefighters must have a college degree in fire science, fire protection technology or related fields. Aspiring candidates may need an emergency medical technician (EMT) certification to provide medical aid during emergencies. While firefighting experience is a plus for entry-level positions, senior firefighters need several years of work experience.
National Average Salary: $25.14 per hour
Job duties: Telecommunications technicians install, maintain, repair and supervise telecommunication lines such as fax lines, telephones and wireless systems. They run routine tests to ensure these lines function optimally. Telecommunication technicians also troubleshoot and resolve issues with a system.
Job requirements: Telecommunications technicians need at least a high school diploma or GED to work. They typically need a college degree in electrical and electronics or related fields and months of training. Alternatively, aspiring telecommunications technicians may have a three- to four-year apprenticeship certificate.
National Average Salary: $31.50 per hour
Job duties: An avionics technician installs, tests, calibrates, repairs and certifies aircraft tools and equipment. They analyze flight test data to detect malfunctioning parts and evaluate the operations of the electrical components. Avionics technicians work in aircraft establishments and airlines.
Job requirements: Avionics technicians need a certificate from a two- to three-year college degree to work. They also need three to five years of work experience. If aspiring technicians sign maintenance releases and certify aircraft they need an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer's (AME) licence from Transport Canada.
11. Police officer
National Average Salary: $33.75 per hour
Job duties: A police officer protects citizens, prevents crimes and upholds the law. They also detect crimes in communities and assist police detectives. Police officers patrol highways and roads and assist people during emergencies. They work for municipal and provincial governments, and at the federal level are referred to as the RCMP.
Job requirements: Police officers need a high school diploma to work. While employers provide a three- to six-month intensive training program, aspiring police officers also need a college degree in social sciences or law and security. Police officers need physical agility, fitness and strength to perform their duties.
National Average Salary: $25.30 per hour
Job duties: A general contractor provides equipment, materials and services for construction projects. They are construction managers that coordinate projects. However, they may also work as a foreman or building designer. They work with subcontractors to complete the necessary tasks of a specific project.
Job requirements: General contractors need a university degree in civil engineering. Alternatively, they can have a college diploma in construction technology or years of work experience as a field superintendent or construction supervisor. A master's degree in project management is an asset.
National Average Salary: $26.60 per hour
Job duties: Aircraft mechanics repair, maintain, overhaul, modify and test aircraft engines and other components. They use tools such as saws and grinders.
Job requirements: Aspiring aircraft mechanics need a high school diploma. Typically, a college diploma in aircraft maintenance or a certificate from an apprenticeship program is essential. Aircraft mechanics also need several years of relevant work experience. Individuals who sign maintenance releases and certify aircraft need an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer's (AME) licence.
14. Metal fabricator
National Average Salary: $21.92 per hour
Job duties: A metal fabricator makes, assembles and installs metal components for various structures such as tanks, towers, boilers, buildings and bridges. They typically work in shipbuilding and manufacturing companies. A metal fabricator ensures quality work after cutting metal objects.
Job requirements: Metal fabricators need at least a high school diploma. To be eligible for trade certification, they need to complete a three- to four-year apprenticeship program. Alternatively, aspiring candidates can have four years of work experience and some educational background.